The Too-Cool-to-Watch-the-Conventions Study Guide

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 Mitt Romney’s looking suave, Barack Obama’s looking older (but just as cool), and the Republican and Democratic parties are officially kicking off the 2012 presidential election with two major conventions. In case you weren’t paying attention, here’s your (non-partisan) cheat sheet on both conventions. Below are the highlights; the test is on Nov. 6, in the voting booth.

The Venues

Republican National Convention: Held in Tampa Bay Times Forum from Aug. 27-30; sparked less-than-conservative protests; interrupted by Hurricane Issac; officially held to nominate Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential ticket; approximately 50,000 people in attendance; theme- “A Better Future.”

Democratic National Convention: Held in Charlotte, North Carolina from Sept. 3-6; weather forced convention-ites indoors; officially held to re-nominate President Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential ticket; hosting delegates, representatives, senators, and our average Joes and Josies; theme- “Let’s Move America Forward.”

Important People

Mitt Romney: The Republican candidate for the 2012 presidential election; former governor of Massachusetts; media-proclaimed flip-flopper on common policy issues such as abortion and health care reform; CEO of the (too successful?) Bain Capital; married to Ann Romney; father of five boys; grandfather to 18 children; devout Mormon (if that matters…); organized (five items on the Checklist to Rebuild America).

Paul Ryan: The Republican vice presidential candidate. Small town Wisconsin hero; chairman of House Budget Committee; Avid P90X fan. The Washington Postfact checked his speech(come on, Ryan, really with the GM slip up?); married to Janna Ryan; three children; really loves his mom.

Chris Christie: The keynote speaker at the RNC; governor of New Jersey; well-known for his attempts at education reform; son of Irish father and Sicilian “enforcer” mother (who he really loves); wants America to remain the master of its own destiny; wants this century to be America’s second century.

Condoleeza Rice: Brilliant; former Secretary of State under George W. Bush; raised in segregated Birmingham, Alabama; concerned by President Obama’s foreign policy strategy; sparked social media storm (at least on my newsfeed) in support of her (unfortunately unreal/unannounced) presidential campaign; she’s always just that good.

Ann Romney: Wife of Mitt Romney; breast cancer survivor; victim of MS; mother of five boys; grandmother of 18; daughter of coal miner; fell in love at a high school dance (aww, how relatable); emphasized how much harder it is to be a mom and an American the past four years (throw up your “We love Ann!” signs); key for persuading women to vote Republican; criticized as the “corporate wife;” assures Americans Mitt Romney will work the hardest, the longest, and the most effectively.

Julian Castro: Keynote speaker at the DNC; mayor of San Antonio, Texas; grandson of immigrant woman; son of first college educated woman in the family; twin; emphasized importance of the middle class; promised Barack Obama will be the man to make the 21stcentury another American century (sorry, Mr. Christie); began “Mitt Romney says no!” chant; really loves his mom, too; fact checked by The Washington Post.

Bill Clinton: You can’t beat Bill; will put up his hands and patiently explain why; won’t stop thinking about tomorrow; pushed Americans to understand President Obama is on the right train moving along a really long track.

Michelle Obama: Our ever-so-popular First Lady; humble; relatable; South side of Chicago native; daughter of a city pump operator; Princeton University undergrad; Harvard Law educated; mom-in-chief; assures Americans Barack Obama is exactly the same man she married/the same man we elected; urged Americans to prop open doors to opportunity; walked out to Beyonce background music (totally kick-ass).

Joe Biden: vice president alongside Barack Obama; married to Jill Biden; father of three; grandfather of five; focused on Barack Obama’s ability to make the tough decision; reminded Americans “Osama is dead and GM is alive”

Barack Obama: incumbent president; (wisely) married to Michelle Obama; father of two daughters; raised by grandmother; strongly influenced and raised by mother; officially nominated by the Democratic Party for re-election; record to be debated; emphasized his vision is fundamentally different from Romney’s vision; bluntly explained we face the clearest choice of any time in a generation; dedicated to protecting the “basic bargain at the heart of America’s story”(hard work pays off);values the middle class; invested in education; agrees with Bill, needs more time for the ultimate follow through  

Extra Credit

Sandra Fluke (worth a listen); Clint Eastwood (he may just go ahead and make your day); Elizabeth Warren; Marco Rubio; Rand Paul; Afghanistan (oh wait…); social security (covered?); Affordable Health Care Act (all square?); keep watching, keep learning, keep caring. U-S-A!! 

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Ryan Wolf.

Junior > American Studies and Political Communication > The George Washington University

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